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House prices 'begin to recover'

16 November 09 07:41 GMT

Scottish house prices have shown a slight increase in the most recent index published.

Lloyds TSB Scotland said its quarterly monitor had registered a rise of 0.7% in house prices in the three months to the end of October.

Its chief economist said the market is "beginning to recover".

However, the year to the end of last month saw the average price fall by 7.5%. And the number of transactions was down by nearly a third.

That is when compared to activity in the Scottish homes market in the same quarter last year.

The market reached its slowest point in May this year, while house prices reached their lowest point in March. They have risen in four of the seven months since then.

The average price in the most recent quarter has risen from £152,561 to £153,605.

'Positive territory'

The annual price fall has affected all areas of Scotland, ranging from 0.7% in the south-east (excluding Edinburgh) to a drop of 9.8% in Dundee.

Figures for the most recent quarter have shown unusually high levels of volatility. Edinburgh prices fell sharply in one quarter - by 11.8% between the start of August and October, yet by only 6% over the past year.

The north of Scotland, excluding Aberdeen, saw prices falling 7.2% in the year, while rising by 6.9% in the most recent quarter.

Aberdeen was down 8.1% in the year, but up by 13.1% in the three months to the end of October.

Glasgow home prices were down 8.1% in the year, and 9.8% lower in the most recent quarter.

The remainder of the south-west region, apart from Glasgow, was down 9.7% in the year, and up by 0.4% in the most recent quarter.

For central Scotland, Fife and Tayside (excluding Dundee), Lloyds TSB found prices 8.2% down in the year, and 1.4% up on the quarter.

Although Dundee saw a sharp drop in the most recent annual figure, at 9.8% down, its quarterly drop was 1.3%.

The south-east, excluding Edinburgh, saw prices drop in the year to October by 0.7% ,while its rise in the quarter was 2.7%.

The price of flats has been falling more heavily than other types of home, down for six consecutive quarters. The latest quarter showed a fall of 1.3%, and 8.4% on the year to October, to an average £119,900.

Terraced house values fell by 8.6% on the quarter and 5.4% on the year, to cost, on average, only £700 more than flats. Semi-detached houses saw an increase for the first time in 15 months, up by a significant 12.5%, while showing an underlying annual fall of 7.3%. The average price, according to Lloyds TSB, was nearly £163,000.

Detached house prices were down 2.4% in the most recent quarter, but the annual price fall is reckoned to be 8%, to an average £232,000.

Professor Donald MacRae, chief economist, Lloyds Banking Group Scotland, said: "Consumer confidence has recovered from the lows of one year ago and is now back in positive territory, but is still below the levels of pre-credit crunch.

"The cost of borrowing has reduced for many mortgage holders while there is now a perceptible increase in the level of mortgage availability including first time buyers. The Scottish housing market is beginning to recover."

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